UK firms to be required to set out net-zero plans, chancellor Sunak tells COP26

Wed 3 Nov 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

net zero

Day three of the COP26 conference saw the focus shift to finance with UK chancellor Rishi Sunak outlining moves to make the UK the world’s first net-zero financial centre.

Sunak arrived on-stage in Glasgow brandishing a green version of his budget despatch box to hammer home the message.

Detailed plans

Beyond the theatre, he revealed that most big UK firms and financial institutions will be forced to show how they intend to hit climate change targets under proposed new rules, the BBC reports.

By 2023, firms will have to set out detailed plans on how they will move to a low-carbon future to meet the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

Sunak also said he wants to “rewire the entire global financial system for net zero”, however commitments will not be mandatory, which has displeased environmental groups.

Funding

The prime minister also launched a £3bn funding package to support the rollout of sustainable infrastructure and green technology in developing countries, helping to tackle climate change and boost economic growth.

Johnson said: “I want to see the UK’s green industrial revolution go global. The pace of change on clean technology and infrastructure is incredible, but no country should be left behind in the race to save our planet.”

The funding kickstarts the UK’s Clean Green Initiative (CGI), which will help to scale up public and private investment in sustainable infrastructure globally.

Breakthrough

Johnson also set out the first five “Glasgow Breakthroughs” that will cover more than 50% of global emissions, reports edie.net.

The Breakthrough Agenda was revealed yesterday and sets out plans on how economies will half emissions by 2030 and keep alive the target of global warming only reaching +1.5C.

It has been backed by nations representing more than 70% of the world’s economy.

Clean tech

The agenda aims to make clean technologies affordable and attractive for all nations by 2030, by:

  • making clean power the main option
  • making zero-emission vehicles the norm
  • creating markets and support for ‘near-zero’ steel and ensuring its use in infrastructure
  • creating low-carbon hydrogen globally
  • delivering climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture across the world by 2030.

It is claimed these five breakthroughs could create 20 million new jobs globally and boost the world’s economy by $16trn.

Tariffs for good

According to a comment piece in the Wall Street Journal, tariffs on steel, cement and chemicals could help cut global emissions.

President Biden’s recent steel deal with the EU included an agreement to crack down on “dirty steel” and lift tariffs in a bid to curb carbon emissions and repair transatlantic relations, reports Al Jazeera.

‘Like-minded’ countries were invited to participate in the approach, while “dirty steel” made in China will be restricted in US and EU markets.

Philanthropists dig deep

As well as governments, businesses have been parading their green credentials in Glasgow.

Edie.net reports the Bezos Earth Fund, Ikea Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation have forged a new alliance with central investment banks called the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP).

It aims to mobilise $100bn for renewable energy, other low-carbon technologies and green jobs.

The FT reports John Kerry, the US climate envoy, said today that the world had a 60% chance of reaching the goal of capping a rise in average temperatures at 1.5C.